Monroe County Prosecutor Erika Oliphant announced she will appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case against two white men charged with assaulting a black man earlier this month.
Sean Purdy and Jerry Cox are charged with criminal confinement, battery resulting in moderate bodily injury and intimidation.
Cox is also facing battery charges stemming from the July 4th incident, which was partially captured on cell phone video.
Purdy and his girlfriend Caroline McCord both filed motions this week requesting a special prosecutor.
Purdy’s request, much like McCord’s, says Oliphant is not fit to prosecute the case because she has a conflict of interest. They say she is more concerned with keeping her job as prosecutor than enforcing the laws of the state.
In a document filed in Monroe Circuit Court, Oliphant said she was “not conceding an actual conflict of interest.” However, she is appointing a special prosecutor to avoid any “appearance of impropriety.”
Booker, a Bloomington resident, says he was accosted by several white men as he was walking through the woods near Lake Monroe. Video shows the men pinning Booker to a tree, some of them hurled racial epithets at Booker, and one of them asked for someone to get a noose, before the suspects dispersed.